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Author Topic: Questions Regarding Bitcoin & Lending  (Read 833 times)
theonewhowaskazu
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October 01, 2013, 02:48:55 AM
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I know these are in a legal grey area, so answering what you believe would be the "most likely scenario" would be greatly appreciated.

1) Is Bitcoin-Denominated Debt Enforceable?
In other words, say I lend someone X BTC (unsecured), and get them to sign a promissory note for the X BTC loan, etc... etc... Now, assume they didn't pay me back. Could I theoretically pursue them for this debt, and potentially take them to court? If so, would I receive only the USD value of BTC lent, or is there a way of writing a contract such that they would be obligated to provide me with the actual X BTC, no matter how much it is worth in USD terms, now?

2) Do normal usury laws apply to BTC?
Self explanatory.

3) Do I have to report income tax on interest earned from BTC loans?
Or do I only have to pay such tax when/if I exchange that newly earned BTC into USD?

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MSantori
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October 01, 2013, 03:00:53 AM
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1) Is Bitcoin-Denominated Debt Enforceable?
In other words, say I lend someone X BTC (unsecured), and get them to sign a promissory note for the X BTC loan, etc... etc... Now, assume they didn't pay me back. Could I theoretically pursue them for this debt, and potentially take them to court? If so, would I receive only the USD value of BTC lent, or is there a way of writing a contract such that they would be obligated to provide me with the actual X BTC, no matter how much it is worth in USD terms, now?

Yes, there is. I've dealt with these agreements before.  It's not as simple as just substituting BTC for USD in the text of the agreement, but it isn't impossible either.

2) Do normal usury laws apply to BTC?
Self explanatory.

It would depend heavily upon the state. Usury is a question of state law in the US.

3) Do I have to report income tax on interest earned from BTC loans?
Or do I only have to pay such tax when/if I exchange that newly earned BTC into USD?

I honestly don't know the answer to this one.  The tax professionals I work with typically reason by analogy when dealing with Bitcoin income.  If there is some other in-kind investment out there that pays dividends in-kind, then they would probably use its tax treatment as precedent.

Marco Santori is a lawyer, but not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.  If you do have specific questions, though, please don't hesitate to PM me.  We've learned this forum isn't 100% secure, so you might prefer to email me.  Maybe I can help!  Depending upon your jurisdiction, this post might be construed as attorney advertising, so: attorney advertising Smiley
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October 01, 2013, 03:05:05 AM
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Also check your state's maximum personal loan interest rate.

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October 01, 2013, 03:11:14 AM
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1) Is Bitcoin-Denominated Debt Enforceable?
In other words, say I lend someone X BTC (unsecured), and get them to sign a promissory note for the X BTC loan, etc... etc... Now, assume they didn't pay me back. Could I theoretically pursue them for this debt, and potentially take them to court? If so, would I receive only the USD value of BTC lent, or is there a way of writing a contract such that they would be obligated to provide me with the actual X BTC, no matter how much it is worth in USD terms, now?

Yes, there is. I've dealt with these agreements before.  It's not as simple as just substituting BTC for USD in the text of the agreement, but it isn't impossible either.


So if this sort of agreement is not in place, depending again on local law, legal tender laws may apply to debt repayment and you get the local fiat?  
I may also seek a drafting, when it becomes a concern that warrants this.

Also check your state's maximum personal loan interest rate.

Yes and this is a changing target in many of them.

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theonewhowaskazu
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October 01, 2013, 03:18:01 AM
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1) Is Bitcoin-Denominated Debt Enforceable?
In other words, say I lend someone X BTC (unsecured), and get them to sign a promissory note for the X BTC loan, etc... etc... Now, assume they didn't pay me back. Could I theoretically pursue them for this debt, and potentially take them to court? If so, would I receive only the USD value of BTC lent, or is there a way of writing a contract such that they would be obligated to provide me with the actual X BTC, no matter how much it is worth in USD terms, now?

Yes, there is. I've dealt with these agreements before.  It's not as simple as just substituting BTC for USD in the text of the agreement, but it isn't impossible either.
You know that's really nice, I'm frankly surprised that there isn't any more widespread use of such an instrument. How would one go about doing it? Some websites would greatly benefit from it.

Quote
2) Do normal usury laws apply to BTC?
Self explanatory.

It would depend heavily upon the state. Usury is a question of state law in the US.
How about the nationwide 36% cap for military? Probably most state caps function in a similar way.
Quote
3) Do I have to report income tax on interest earned from BTC loans?
Or do I only have to pay such tax when/if I exchange that newly earned BTC into USD?

I honestly don't know the answer to this one.  The tax professionals I work with typically reason by analogy when dealing with Bitcoin income.  If there is some other in-kind investment out there that pays dividends in-kind, then they would probably use its tax treatment as precedent.
To be honest, I really don't care about paying the taxes, they'd likely be minute (unless it was something insane, like I was realizing a profit for the entire lent sum, not just the interest). I just don't want to get in trouble. How exactly would I go about doing the 'safe' thing?

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